Technology is always moving and it touches every part of your life, from business IT systems that connect organisations across the globe, to gadgets in your home and wearable tech like the Apple watch. In fact, year after year, more of the stuff of movie science fiction is becoming science fact.
And it's hard to keep up!
I’m reminded of a fabulous routine about the evolution of technology by the comedian Dara Ó Briain, in which he imagines jogging alongside technology and trying to keep up as it evolves. Technology is personified as a simple mobile phone out for a run with Dara and, as it evolves from a straightforward phone into a device on which you can send text messages, Dara pants and tries to keep pace. Finally, it morphs into a phone with a camera on it and by the end of the routine Dara is doubled over, gasping for breath as technology runs on ahead leaving him behind.
It's a fabulously well observed bit because that's exactly how it can feel. Especially in business, where your expertise lies in the area in which you specialise and not keeping pace with the technology that can support it. If you're in construction, for example, you have enough on your plate keeping pace with developments in excavation machinery and changes to building regulations, without also having to think too much about the IT that links your head office to the onsite portakabins, and your site foreman's check list to your materials procurement system.
I had an entertaining conversation over a glass of wine or two with some peers recently, from various non IT sectors and backgrounds, about what we thought the most exciting recent advancement in technology had been. A doctor friend was excited by Google’s contact lenses that can monitor blood sugar levels, a friend who loves to have the latest home entertainment system extolled the virtue of 4K televisions, the petrol head of our group thought that driverless cars were the greatest. My contribution was a bit less showbiz.
To me the most exciting advance has been the commoditisation of business IT and the subsequent opportunities for organisations to buy in IT "as a Service" – I told you – it’s a bit less glitzy!
From Project Management to software solutions, practically every IT need can be now serviced in this method and it has made keeping up with technology so much easier. There are many other advantages, the top three being;
- You can turn up and turn down the service depending on your need as easily as you adjust the taps at home to get your bath to the right temperature.
- Each element of your IT estate is kept up to date individually, especially if you multisource. The right partner will keep abreast of the latest developments and "new kid on the block" providers, so you can concentrate on your core activity in the knowledge that you’re depending on state of the art, best in class IT.
- IT now fits your business rather than vice versa. Previously, a lot of wastage would occur when big players were awarded "the IT contract" – one player – the whole lot. Even the big providers have strengths and weaknesses, and areas where they do lack in expertise can really drain value from the overall contract. Now sensible CIOs are NOT outsourcing their enter IT requirement or Project Management needs to just one vendor, they’re accessing the whole market to service smaller chunks of IT. Smaller, more agile, more creative vendors are being discovered daily plus if you access them through the right "clientside" multisourcing partner, you will benefit from greater governance of the contracts.
There are other huge benefits to be gained from the commoditization of business IT, and many of them are as specific to your business sector as the nuts, bolts and methods of your business itself – your IT should now feel more bespoke.
Most adopters of the concept just talk of being able to relax, to sleep at night, knowing that their IT infrastructure is performing in the best interests of their business.
As your company or organisation expands, as you become more dependent on IT, or, perhaps if you're already there, as an large outsourced contract comes to an end consider chunking your needs and multisourcing to various vendors - ideally through a clientside (on your side) multisourcing partner.
Consider every aspect of your IT estate and ask could this be provided "as a Service"?
Who knows, on your next jog technology might be struggling to keep up with you and Dara.
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